WILLIAMSBURG — Williamsburg City Council appointed new members to the Williamsburg Housing Authority board.
The city council also voted to appoint Richard Foley, Diane Stanfill and Jane Graham to the Williamsburg Housing Authority.
The Housing Authority Board previously consisted of Chairman Johnny Brown, Bill Brown, Larry Prindle and Debbie Mays.
“Everybody sitting in here knows about what we’ve been going through with the Housing Authority,” said Williamsburg Mayor Roddy Harrison. “And so I asked the board to send in their letters of resignation, the old board. They did."
Harrison was referring to the investigation of James Lovitt Jr.’s actions as executive director of the Williamsburg Housing Authority.
On August 23, Lovitt had been placed on administrative leave with pay due to an ongoing investigation by the Williamsburg Police Department that had FBI involvement. On September 11, the Williamsburg Housing Authority voted to change Lovitt's suspension to without pay.
Lovitt was arrested on September 2, by the Williamsburg Police Department and was released on bond on September 9.
The suspended executive director of the Williamsburg Housing Authority was handed a 45-count indictment in October 21, 2019, by a Whitley County grand jury. Lovitt was indicted on the charges of second-degree forgery, theft by deception of a value less than $500, theft by deception of the value greater than $500, one at $500 and the other at $1,000, and abuse of public trust.
An indictment is a formal charge by a grand jury, it is not a conviction or an admission of guilt. The case is still in court.
Harrison said that the new group has met a couple of times already and that he has received around 12 applications for the Housing Authority Director’s position. Harrison will select applicants, set up interview times with the board, and hire a new director.
“I’m not in a great big rush. I think we oughta do it, do it right, and get a good director. And a new director with the board these guys are going to sit on, I think it’s going to be great for the Housing Authority,” Harrison said.